[Physics] Educational physics stories with a funny punchline


As a physicist, when I'm giving lectures or during colloquiums, I usually find it necessary to have some appropriate and related jokes in hand. All of the best teachers have some, and they use them when they have to; so I think that it is a necessity of good teaching. On the math side we have this gem(although being closed and reopened several times); however on the physics side I couldn't find much. Hopefully this topic will help me and many others with this regard.

Best Answer

David Morin has written some answers to the old question of Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road?, here at Harvard department of physics website.

To avoid an one-line answer, I bring some of them here that I found more interesting :


Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road?

  • Albert Michelson and Edward Morley: Our experiment was a failure. We could not detect the road.

  • Werner Heisenberg: Because I made darn sure it was standing right next to me on this side

  • Albert Einstein: The chicken did not cross the road. The road passed beneath the chicken.

  • Ludwig Boltzmann: If you have enough chickens, it is a near certainty that one of them will cross the road.

  • John David Jackson: You’ll find out after you complete this 37-page calculation.

  • Henri Poincare: Let’s try changing the initial position of the chicken just a tiny, tiny, tiny bit, and….look, it’s now across the road!

  • Enrico Fermi: In estimating to the nearest power of 10 the number of chickens that cross the road, note that since fractional chickens are not allowed, the desired power must be at least zero. Therefore, at least one chicken crosses the road.

  • Richard Feynman: There was this good-looking rooster on the other side of the road, and he figured he’d skip all the games and just get to the point. So he asked the chicken if she’d like to come over to his side, and she said sure.

  • Erwin Schrodinger: The chicken doesn't cross the road. Rather, it exists simultaneously on both sides…..just don’t peek.

  • John Bell: Since there are no local hidden chickens, any hidden chickens you find must have come from far away. They therefore surely must have crossed at least one road on their way here.

  • Hans Geiger: I don’t know, but I say we count how many times it crosses!

  • Edward Teller: I will build a more powerful chicken, and it will cross the road with more energy than any chicken before!

  • Oskar Klein: Actually, it can get to the other side of the road without crossing it.

  • Peter Higgs: We must first find the chicken.

  • Fusion researchers: Because it knew that in 30 years it would get to the other side. [No insult intended here. Well, at least not to the physicists working hard with the meager funds they've been given.]

  • Lisa Randall: The only thing about the chicken we ever discuss is why it crossed the road. There are many more dimensions to it than that!

  • Norman Ramsey: I don’t know why, but I do know that it took 4.71988362706153 seconds to get there.

  • Neils Bohr: In attempting to answer the question by observing the chicken, I collapsed its wavefunction to the other side.

  • Daniel Bernoulli: Because it enjoyed flying to the other side. Ok, wait, can someone tell me once and for all if I’m relevant to all this flying stuff or not?!

  • Gustav Kirchhoff: It actually crossed the road twice, due to a strange desire to form a closed loop.

  • Michael Faraday: No, again? How many times do I have to tell it to stick to the safety of its cage?!

  • Arthur Compton: There were a bunch of chickens waving at me on this side of the road, but then a car came along and they all scattered to the other side. The funny thing is that the ones that ended farthest away were still waving at me a few minutes later. So apparently, the ones that scattered the most had the longest waves.

  • Louis de Broglie: Interesting, it always seems to flap its wings an integral number of times before it comes back.

  • Max Planck: It appears to be a white chicken. Sorry, I deal only with black bodies.

  • Hugh Everett: I don’t know, but there’s another one over there that isn’t crossing the road.

  • Edward Witten: 50 years ago, you probably would have said there was no hope of answering this question either.

  • Archimedes: I was running through the streets yelling and screaming, and it was only afterward that I realized I was carrying a chicken.

  • Marie Curie: Good question. And one that is much less hazardous to one’s health.

  • Johann Balmer: Why are there only two lines in the middle of the road?

  • Karl Schwarzschild: The sad thing is, I know I could have answered this question too. [This one isn’t meant to be funny.]

  • Ernest Rutherford: The differential cross section for forward chicken scattering is quite large, so the chicken will most likely cross the road if it was initially heading in that direction.

  • Stephen Hawking: Chicken fluctuations will inevitably create a scenario where a chicken ends up on the other side of the yellow line, in which case there is a nonzero probability that it will escape to the other side.

  • Robert Oppenheimer: Although it was deemed appropriate at the time, people will forever question whether it was correct for the chicken to cross the road.